UN, Buzz of Holmes Leaving, Tibaijuka's Absence, Accountability on
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 12 -- At UN's annual signing of "compacts"
on Friday morning, the buzz from one Under Secretary General to
another was that top UN Humanitarian John Holmes "is leaving to
go back to the UK." Later another senior UN official, not
present at the Compact signing ceremony, told Inner City Press this
present to sign his Compact, being in Haiti. Anna Tibaijuka, removed
by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon inexplicably from running the UN's
Nairobi office, was equally inexplicably not present, even by video
conference. Her Nairobi chief successor Achim Steiner, handpicked by
Mr. Ban, was present, with the image of a tree behind him.
Compacts, as did Cheick Sidi Diarra, still moonlighting between Least
Developed Countries, Landlocked and Small Island Developing States
and the Special Adviser on Africa position, which some in the General
Assembly say has become moribund under Mr. Ban. The Assembly has
voted that the post must be filled, but it has yet to happen.
2009, Inner City Press was the only media organization there. Even
for the photo op, only UN Television and UN Photo were there.
Nevertheless, Mr. Ban in his prepared remarked said the UN was making
these signings "as public as possible."
reports on performance, will go only on the UN's intranet, not
available to the public, to "we the peoples."
of the Under
Secretaries General at the ceremony rarely if ever speak to the
press. Chief UN lawyer Patricia O'Brien, in her few appearances, has
stuck narrowing to issues of the Hariri Tribunal, refusing questions
even on the UN's involvement in Cambodia's tribunal.
Ahlenius, recently in the media for OIOS' alleged policy of not
pursuing former UN employees or third party contractors, has not held
a press conference in the Compact annual cycle.
Security chief Gregory Starr has not spoken with the press, other
than a single interview with the correspondent of the Washington
Times (which recently closed its UN bureau by means of massive
Starr is the
only new UN senior office since last year.
Now, a needed shakeup may be near.
Last year's group photo by UN, only DSS' Starr is
new since then
Shabaan, while affable, has yet to hold a press conference, despite
being in the news for a damning UN Dispute Tribunal decision about
his management. Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky, who sat in the corner
during the signing ceremony, announced only that Ban will appeal the
UNDT decision, but refused Inner City Press' question for a statement
of the basis of the appeal.
more than understandable. Lynn Pascoe, along with Ban's closest
advisor Kim Won-soo, was still on his North Korea trip. Mr. Ban told
the Press that he spoke with Pascoe, who had not met with Kim Jong-Il
to whom Ban sent a leather bound copy of the UN Charter in six
peacekeepers, Alain Le Roy nor Susana Malcorra, was present. Inner
City Press saw both of them less than an hour later going into the
Council, another USG spoke: Alan Doss, whose
six line e-mail urging UNDP to show him "leeway" and give
his daughter a job is still being investigated by the UN some eight
months later. Why does USGs like Doss sign Compacts, and abide by
them? As with everything in this UN, it is a work in process, not
necessarily in progress. Watch this site.
* * *
Says It "Cannot Name and Shame" on Sexual Violence, Silence on Congo
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 9 -- The UN on February 9 bragged about its work
against Sexual Violence in Conflict, introducing Secretary General
Ban Ki-moon's new Special Representative on the topic, Margot
when asked why
the UN's Mission in the Congo MONUC works with Army united accused of
mass rape by the UN's own Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, and why
the UN never disclosed any discipline for Sri Lankan peacekeepers
sent home from Haiti after being accused of sexual abuse, the UN had
no answers. Video here,
from Minute 16:23.
asked Alain Le Roy, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping
Operations, about a portion of Alston's
report describing that
Shalio (near Busurungi in North Kivu) it appears that the FARDC, led
by Colonel Zimulinda, attacked a makeshift camp of Rwandan Hutu
refugees on 27 April 2009. The FARDC surrounded the camp, shot and
beat to death at least 50 refugees and burnt the camp to the ground.
It also appears that some 40 women were abducted from the camp. A
small group of 10 who escaped described being gang raped, and had
severe injuries; some had chunks of their breasts hacked off. It is
not known what has happened to the other 30 women."
has previously asked MONUC chief Alan Doss about the report, after it
came out in October. Doss never announced any suspension of support
to Zimulinda's unit. Rather, he made a misleading announcement of the
end of the Kimia II operation. Soon thereafter, it was replaced by
another operation, Amani Leo, in which MONUC supports questionable
units of the Congolese Army.
Roy on February
9 said that the UN is "vetting unit by unit." He blurred a
word, or made a Freudian slip, saying that "Alan Doss knows [or
does] very well, each times there is full evidence" of abuse by
a unit, "we stop our support." Video here,
18:50. So does Alan Doss do this well? Or is the claim that he
"knows" very well the policy?
asked why, four months after Alston's report, which was followed by
others (with Zimulinda called "Zimurinda"), the UN has
apparently done nothing. Video here,
from Minute 19:18. There was another recent report of the UN
and accused mass rapist Bosco Ntaganda, which some in the UN think
was unfair. But what about Zimulinda?
does it take
the UN four months to study Alston's short report? Why has it taken
the UN eight months and counting to "investigate" and act
Doss' six line email to UNDP asking them to show "leeway"
and give his daughter a job? Does Doss "do" well, or simply
At the UN, is
it all about who you know?
UN's Ban and Alan Doss, investigation of Zimulinda
and Doss-mail not shown
Roy answered a
question by referring to a new UN web site purporting to provide
transparency into the disposition of allegations of sexual abuse or
exploitation by UN peacekeepers. Inner City Press pointed to a
particular page, here, which reports that the UN made 82
communications about abuse to Troop Contributing Countries in 2009,
and got 14 "responses."
asked, were the responses indications of prosecution? Or merely
letters in response? This, Le Roy did not answer. He said "we
cannot name and shame," because TCCs don't want it. But nor
should the UN give blue helmets and immunity to soldiers who, if they
rape, suffer only "repatriation." More disclosures should
be made -- we will continue to pursue this. Watch this site.